26 March, 2011

Franco's 80s actors: JOAQUÍN NAVARRO

The juvenile lead of La isla de las virgenes aka El lago de las virgenes did no further work for Jess Franco and, indeed, very little film acting for others. His filmography comprised the years 1981-83 and his only leads were in Franco’s film and Carlos Aured’s quasi-bloodless slasher flick Atrapados en el miedo (1983, released 1985).

Other than that, he is listed as part of the respective casts of Mariano Ozores’s ¡Qúe gozada de divorcio! (1981), a comedy vehicle for Andrés Pajares; and Bésame tonta (1982), a now-forgotten vehicle for the Orquesta Mondragón music group. To these one should add José María Zabalza’s ultra-weird softcore film Bragas calientes(1983), with Navarro was the youthful owner of the mysterious house around which much of the action revolves. Franco’s movie appears last in his filmography due to its having been released in 1987, although it’s really a 1981 production, signifying that it was among the first of the actor’s films, or maybe even the very first.

Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen

22 March, 2011



EL CASO DE LA GÜIRI ASUSTADA. nuestra primera producción

The above logo translates, according to Elena and Nzoog, THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED TOURIST.
I guess it would be an adaptation of Edgar Wallace's THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED LADY, made at least twice before in 1963 and 83, based on a novel [and there was also reportedly a play of that title which I have to research].  Nzoog reports that it's a contemptuous description of tourists. Since Franco often uses contempt as a basis for cultural comedy [cf IS COBRA THE SPY?] it makes sense. The 63 one [THE INDIAN SCARF] was directed in Germany by Alfred Vohrer and is very talky, but witty and entertaining as a whodunit set in a remote manse where greedy relatives of a man who was strangled by the titular scarf have gathered for a reading of his will. They have to stay in the mansion for a week and are cut off by a storm. Hienz Drache is the lawyer who investigates. With Klaus Kinski and Eddi Arent in their usual EW film adaptation-roles. I can't imagine this as a SOV erotic extravaganza, if that what Jess has in mind. We'll see...

Alfred Vohrer filmed Edgar Wallace's THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED LADY in 1963 as THE INDIAN SCARF, featuring a black gloved killer at work in a mansion. It would become a textbook for the gialli of Mario Bava [cf BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and Dario Argento DEEP RED].

Thanks to Nzoog and Elena for the translations over on CINEMADROME. 

15 March, 2011

Goodbye to Andres Resino and Joaquin Blanco

Joaquin Blanco in Jess Franco's  LOS OJOS SINIESTROS DEL DOCTOR ORLOFF (1973)

Blanco in PLAISIR A TROIS (1973)

As the scientist at the beginning of Bruno Mattei's HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Blanco appeared in Jess Franco's PLAISIR A TROIS as the psychiatrist of Alice Arno's character and as an assistant to the police inspector played by Edmund Purdom in THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF. He also co-directed (with frequent Jess Franco player Antonio Mayans ) the softcore feature TRAMPA PARA UNA ESPOSA. He passed away last Feb. 28th. 

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An excellent interview with Andres Resino [1940-2011] appears in the first issue of LATARNIA FANTASTIQUE INTERNATIONAL Resino studied acting at Spain's Escula Oficial de Cinematografia, played Marcel in LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS (1970), the film which ignited the Spanish horror boom, and appeared as the unjustly imprisoned protagonist in Jess Franco's LOS AMANTES DE LA ISLA DEL DIABLO (1971). His later career was mostly in the theater and on Spanish television, where he played the villain in the TV series EL SUPER. He was married to actress Eva Leon from 1967 to 1984. Ms. Leon was featured in many 1970s Spanish horror films (VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST) and several Jess Franco films (GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS, MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD). Resino died of cancer on March 13th.

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Andres Resino gave what is perhaps his best film performance in Jose Luis Madrid's SEVEN MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD (1971).

Thanks to Nzoog for reporting the passing of these two actors, providing the information on their careers and supplying me with the caps. 

Robert Monell

09 March, 2011

Franco's 80s actors: FLAVIA HERVÁS

Jess Franco was one filmmaker who would use whatever elements or persons were available to him at the moment, making it unsurprising that he should give roles to set technicians – or as in the case of the child actress Flavia Hervás , to the daughter of his lead actor / production manager, Antonio Mayans, and the director’s regular make-up artist, Juana de la Morena.

Antonio Mayans had the habit of taking along his whole family along for shoots, meaning that his three daughters were regularly around on set, as was the dog. Eventually, the daughters were themselves given various assignments, whether it be acting roles or, as in the case of the oldest of the three, Regina Mayans, the job of assistant director in Jungle of Fear (1993, unfinished).

Of the three sisters, the youngest, Flavia Mayans de la Morena was the most conspicuous. Billed in films as Flavia Hervás (after Antonio Mayans’s mother), she was born in Cantabria c. 1977 and appears to have made her debut in Camino Solitario (1983), playing the daughter of her real-life father, a role she essayed again in Sola ante el terror (also 1983). The presence of the three girls gave Franco the idea of making children’s films, such as En busca del dragon dorado (1983), starring Flavia alongside her sister Ivana, both of whom could also be seen in uncredited roles during the titles of ¿Cuánto cobra un espía? (1984). Franco, most audaciously, even entertained the idea of using the sisters in a musical!

Flavia Hervás’s career ended soon, at the age of seven, due to her parents’ concern about her missing classes at school. She disappeared from Franco’s universe until she had turned 19, when she was offered the female lead, named Flavia, in the film that was eventually to be titled Killer Barbys (1996). Unsure of her acting abilities and unwilling to do nude scenes, she turned down the offer, and the project finally became a vehicle for the Killer Barbies rock band. Hervás’s return to acting came about in Ángel Mora Aragón’s shot-on-video The Snuff Game (2000), with Antonio Mayans in the cast, playing a seedy drunkard, and Hervás as the woman being stalked by the lonely murderer that is the film’s central character. Both father and daughter were obviously being iconically cast, even if the bearded, graying Mayans and, more especially, Flavia Hervás, now in her early twenties, were a far cry from what they looked like in the early eighties. That same year, as Flavia Mayans, she also appeared in an episode of the slob TV sitcom Manos a la obra, in the very brief role of a hooker.

On discovering she didn’t like acting, she took to other show business concerns, emerging as a lighting technician for the stage. In 2010, she and José Mora were nominated for a Max Award (the Spanish equivalent to the Tony) for their lighting design of the play Sueño Lorca o El sueño de las manzanas, a theatre production written and directed by María Caudevilla.

Poster of En busca del dragón dorado. Flavia Hervás is the girl wearing overalls.

Flavia Hervás in The Snuff Game

Flavia Hervás in the TV sitcom Manos a la obra

Production of the play Sueño Lorca o el sueño de las manzanas, lighting by José Mora and Flavia Hervás.

(Most information has been drawn from the interviews with Antonio Mayans and Flavia Hervás conducted by Ferrán Herranz and Fracesco Cesari and included in the book Il caso Jesús Franco, 2010, edited by Cesari).

Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen